The headwind is very hot and the dust being thrown up on the trail is desperately trying to dry out my already dry throat.
“The only water stop is around the 8K mark, but most people can run 10K without a drink,” said the race director at the pre-race briefing.
A factoid which is true, heck I frequently run 15K without a drink but the hot and dry conditions coupled with my ambitious low 4min/K start has taken its toll. As I ascend the small hill from the river, I use the reduced pace that UP forces plus a headwind that feels as if Bealzebub himself has turned his own personal hairdryer on the World to slowly edge off my low 4min/K pace into something a little more sustainable. The next 5K is going to be tough though.
In truth, I have run in hotter conditions, drier conditions and hotter-wetter conditions so in truth the 25/26 degrees was not that bad, but after weeks of very chilly and quite wet weather in Victoria, I just hadn’t put in any training runs where overheating is a factor.
Despite the heat, the course is very flat, compared to what I am used to running, and the ease of the trails I am running on makes the first race of this new trails series an extremely fast one.
A field of 64 took part in the 12K distance with more than half the field finishing in under 70 minutes.
The route is a good mix of wide gravel road, grassy trail and goat track, a big section of fire-track and a very small section of tarmac, it’s Marysville but without the mountains.
The bulk of the run took place in the Grey Box forrest which was very pleasant, unfortunately I got my tree species confused and thought the trees would offer more protection from the sun than they did, but the snippets of view I grabbed at the periphery of my vision or when I chanced to look up from the three feet of trail can only be described as ideal light trail scenery.
One of the policies of this series is that they will not provide disposble cups to runners, so runners are requested to run with their own water containers, a nice trait which reduces the impact the run has on the environement.
One of the other great thing about this series is that all runners are automatically invited to run the 3K run at the end of the event and that if your partner turns up on the day, they are also invited to run the 3K event, for free.
The race director commented that the 3K trail run is aimed at introducing 5K Parkrun runners to the joy of trail running as he theorises that 3K of trail is the equivilant (effort wise) to 5K of Parkrun.
The Big V is a spring/summer series, one race a month until January. The low key nature and light trails make it ideal for beginners and a joy to seasoned trail runners who can use the course as a chance to run fast, as the long run in the series are only 12K, while enjoying the technicality of a trail run.
I ran the Eynesbury race in 1:07, a time which I am extremely happy with. The heat (on the day) and a little bit of dehydration and unfamiliararity of the course took a bit of pace out of my legs but with the next race 2 weeks away, at Westerfolds, and the maps already up I am looking forward to heading down to the park in the next 10 days, to shakedown the route for race 2 and see if I can shave some time off of my 12K.